Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Full – Squad Workout #1


Throughout Spring Training the Dodgers PR department sends out helpful daily notes from Camelback Ranch, and I am happy to pass them along.  See what they've written below.

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(Sandy Koufax is in the house!  Pic via Matthew Mesa/LA Dodgers 2015)

LET’S GET IT STARTED: Today marked the first full-squad workout of the 2015 season and Dodger Manager Don Mattingly introduced key personnel including Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax and Tommy Lasorda and Dodger Legends Maury Wills and Manny Mota to the team. President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman, Director of Public Relations Joe Jareck, Director of Team Travel Scott Akasaki and Vice President of Medical Services Stan Conte also addressed the team.
  • Former Dodger first baseman Eric Karros arrived in Camelback Ranch today and will be a special instructor for the team for a couple days.

NICE TO MEET YOU:  With the full-squad in full gear today, the Dodgers’ 40-man roster is filled with new faces which includes 19 new players since the end of the 2014 season. Joc Pederson, Carlos Frias, Zach Lee and Chris Reed, who were non-roster invitees last year are making their first appearance to Spring Training.
(Full squad workouts, pic via @Dodgers on twitter)

BUSY WEEKEND: On Saturday morning, the Dodgers will have their Photo Day at 7 a.m. and media outlets who are scheduled to attend are Dodgers photographers, MLB Photos, MLB.com, ESPN the Magazine, Topps, LA Times, USA Today, Getty Images, Baseball Digest and Associated Press. On Sunday, the Dodgers will be featured on ESPN SportsCenter, which will air live from Camelback Ranch – Glendale.

BACKSTAGE: DODGERS: SportsNet LA will debut a new season of its signature series, “Backstage: Dodgers,” tonight at 7:00 p.m. The behind-the-scenes documentary series returns with new exclusive inside access to the team that will cover the off-season to the first day of Spring Training and through the last pitch of the season. “Backstage: Dodgers” episodes will debut every Thursday all season and will provide fans with an unrivaled behind-the-scenes view of the players, coaches, executives and Dodger legends inside the clubhouse, out in the community and more.

BLUE DIAMOND GALA: The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) announced today its inaugural Blue Diamond Gala honoring the Jackie Robinson Foundation, The Los Angeles Fund for Public Education and the LA84 Foundation on Thursday, April 16 at Dodger Stadium. The event will kick off with a VIP reception hosted by Dodger owner Earvin “Magic” Johnson at the Top of the Park, a cocktail reception in center field, dinner and awards with a Ted Baker London fashion show featuring Dodger players. There will also be a performance by Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc. For tickets and information on Blue Diamond Gala sponsorships please visit www.dodgers.com/gala.
(Tommy Lasorda is also in Arizona signing for fans, pic via Camelback Ranch on twitter)

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Blog Kiosk: 2/26/2015 - Dodger Links - Koufax, Pederson and Grandal


If autograph hounds are commonly known as "graphers" then what do you call folks who only want a selfie?  Selfers?  Photo above via Camelback Ranch on twitter

Below are some more links to check out:
Pederson offers up gobs of potential – above-average power and speed, a career walk rate north of 14%, the ability to man center field effectively – but he isn’t a certainty for stardom. In fact, it could be just the opposite. As the Dodgers’ front office aggressively pushed the burgeoning big leaguer quickly through the minor leagues, it appeared that Pederson handled each promotion with aplomb. But his once modest strikeout rate has become increasingly concerning with each stop.
“I’m trying to make the umpire’s job easier. The better lane I give them to see the ball, the better relationship I’m going to have with them, the more they’re going to trust me,” Grandal said. “I’m always talking to them, trying to see, ‘Hey, do you have a good lane to see? Am I cutting you off? Are you seeing this pitch?’ The relationship between the catcher and pitcher is pretty important, but you also have to have a relationship with the umpire.” 
  • An old friend alert!  Mark Ellis has retired, via Susan Slusser at SFGate.com.
  • Apparently, the ever cautious Dodgers had Hyun-Jin Ryu get a MRI.  No worries though, Ken Gurnick reports it's fine.


  • Via Mike OZ at Big League Stew, "California stars are dominating MLB merchandise sales."
  • AWESOME!  John Thorn, the MLB official historian, put together "A Long and Winding Quiz."
  • David Seiderman at Forbes provides a recap of the recently closed Heritage Sports auction, "Sandy Koufax Dodgers Jersey Sells for 580K And Other Highlights From Biggest Sports Auction Ever."

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Pitchers & Catchers Workout #6


Throughout Spring Training the Dodgers PR department sends out helpful daily notes from Camelback Ranch, and I am happy to pass them along.  See what they've written below.

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(Puig and Uribe, via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015)

PRESENT AND ACCOUNTED FOR: Today marked the sixth and final day of workouts for pitchers and catchers only as all 61 players are in camp and ready to go for tomorrow’s first full-squad workout of 2015.
  • Several Dodgers fired their third bullpen of the spring this morning, including Clayton Kershaw, Daniel Coulombe, Brandon League, Joe Wieland, Brandon McCarthy, Chris Hatcher, David Huff and Ryan Buchter. Submarine-style right-hander Ben Rowen threw his first “official” bullpen of the spring.
  • Several special guests arrived at Camelback Ranch-Glendale yesterday or today, including Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax and Tommy Lasorda, Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten and Dodger Executive Vice President and CMO Lon Rosen.

A NEW CHAD: This morning, the Dodgers announced the signing of right-handed pitcher Chad Gaudin. Gaudin was signed to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. He will wear No. 30, following infielder Darwin Barney’s switch from No. 30 to No. 6 yesterday. Gaudin didn’t waste any time getting acclimated, as he also threw his first bullpen this morning at Camelback Ranch-Glendale. 
(Shawn Zarraga and Chad Gaudin, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015)

HURRY UP AND GET WELL: Dodger Manager Don Mattingly announced this morning that left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu was experiencing some mid-back tightness and would not participate on the field today. After throwing his first bullpen yesterday, starter Zack Greinke has now returned to his normal schedule. 

DODGERTOWN DIGEST: It was announced today by Historic Dodgertown Chairman Peter O’Malley that the feature story “Haven of Tolerance” by scholar, historian and author Jerald Podair is now available on the historicdodgertown.com website. In the article, Podair writes, “Dodgertown was more than just an incubator of talent. Its significance extends beyond the playing field and into the social and racial history of Florida, the South, and America as a whole.” Dodgertown advanced the cause of civil rights and in 1962, Holman Stadium was integrated for all fans. Local schools didn’t become integrated until seven years later. Historic Dodgertown, was named a “Florida Heritage Landmark” on Nov. 10, 2014, with a historical marker now displayed on site. Podair is a professor of history and American studies at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisc. His feature may be accessed through the “History” section of historicdodgertown.com.
(Running Drills, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015)

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Campanella and Newcombe Memorabilia at Hake's

Yesterday I provided a brief glimpse at some vintage Dodger memorabilia available on auction at Hake's Americana.  This afternoon my post focuses on a couple of scarce and unusual collectibles at Hake's featuring a couple of Brooklyn Dodgers' when they played in foreign lands. 

As you know, nearly all of the African-American ballplayers to play for Brooklyn started out their professional careers in various Negro and foreign Baseball Leagues.  Unfortunately, there are few memorabilia items available for fans a collectors to enjoy.  So when something comes along it's best to pay attention.

For instance, check out the vintage 1943 postcard below.  It is of the Mexican League Champion Monterrey Industriales ballclub, and it features future Dodger and Hall of Famer Roy Campanella.  He is standing, second on the right.
(Auction Link)

Here is a closeup of the 21-year old catcher.

Below is another unique item of a Brooklyn Dodger.  Here is a painting of Don Newcombe wearing a Cuban League Almendares Scorpions uniform.  This comes from the collection of Richard Merkin - a noted Negro League collector.
(Auction Link)

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Hanley Ramirez got Some Revenge for Us All - Attacks Joe Kelly


Oh how I miss the jovial and playful nature of Hanley Ramirez.  Few players had as much fun, and I'm sure he's missed by many within the Dodger clubhouse.

Still, with him moving on to Boston it provided a great opportunity for the former Dodger slugger to air a grievance for himself and Dodger Nation.  As you may know, a teammate of his at the Red Sox is former Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly, and you should remember him as the fellow who effectively knocked Ramirez out of the 2013 NLCS.  Watch the video below to recall the gory details.

Video Link:

Yeah, I hate that guy. 

Well, I'm happy to report that Hanley got his revenge for that cracked rib by forcefully putting Kelly in a headlock at the Red Sox Spring home in Fort Myers, FL.  See the photo at the very top.

OK.  Maybe not forcefully... And certainly not with any malice.  I do like the sentiment, though, so thank you Hanley!


As you can imagine, Ramirez has made himself at home with the Red Sox.  He's definitely enjoying himself.  Below is another photo of himself goofing around with Joe Kelly and Pablo Sandoval.


Hat Tip: u/UpnUpvote on Reddit.

Pic above via Hanley Ramirez on twitter.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 2/25/2015 - Dodger Links - Kershaw and Ethier


Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout are captured together in a photoshoot for Subway sandwiches yesterday afternoon, pic via Bill Shaikin on twitter.

Below are some more links to check out:
How is it that Kershaw became so historically platoon-proof last season? Easy: He changed his approach to one that keys on establishing the inside corner. 
"Friedman, Donnie, Farhan and all those guys understand what I said and where I'm coming from, and the intentions. With me still being here, I have to assume they're at least considering it," Ethier said. "This is a big decision coming up for the year, but they have had a lot of big decisions to make all winter. This is just a small facet of what has to be done for this team."
As McCarthy put it, "We're similarly socially awkward people with dry senses of humor."
  • Dodger Penguin shares a photo recap of his recent trip to the Dodgers Spring Training Home at Camelback Ranch, here.
  • Congrats, Night Owl!  He shares his recently completed 1956 Topps Dodgers team set.  Check it out here.  He gets some great autographs.
  • Via Joon Lee at Hardball Times, "Keep an Eye on Korean Baseball."
“In Korea, in the showers, I’ve heard it’s not considered weird to scrub down each other’s backs,” Lee said. “In the U.S., if you were to do that, it’s incredibly weird. It’s funny. Chan-Ho Park talked about that where in the first couple years of his minor league career, he tried to do that to his American teammates and his American teammates thought that he was gay. In Korea, your scrubbing each other’s backs is raising the camaraderie, like, ‘Hey, good day of practice, let me scrub down your back,’ whereas in the U.S., that’s completely off limits.”

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Pitchers & Catchers Workout #5 - All Players Accounted For


Throughout Spring Training the Dodgers PR department sends out helpful daily notes from Camelback Ranch, and I am happy to pass them along.  See what they've written below.

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(Boomer, DeLury, Wallach, Corrales and hidden Mattingly, pic via Jon SooHoo)

TURN UP TUESDAYS: Today marked the fifth day of workouts for pitchers and catchers at Camelback Ranch – Glendale. Position players report tomorrow, with the first full-squad workout of 2015 scheduled for Thursday.
  • Zack Greinke, who was given a lubricating injection in his right elbow on Thursday, February 19, returned to the mound today and threw his first “official” bullpen of the spring.
  • Sergio Santos and newly acquired right-hander Dustin McGowan also threw their first “official” bullpens of the spring.
  • Erik Bedard, Juan Nicasio, Brandon League, Adam Liberatore, Josh Ravin, Carlos Frias and Hyun-Jin Ryu all threw their scheduled bullpen sessions today.

ROLL CALL: With first full-squad workouts scheduled for Thursday, all position players have already reported to camp early for voluntary workouts. Carl Crawford, who reported to camp today, and Howie Kendrick and Alex Guerrero, who reported late yesterday, brought Camelback Ranch to full capacity at 60 players for Spring Training.

(Pic via Camelback Ranch on twitter)

TORNEO DE BEISBOL DE VALENCIA: The Dodgers, in collaboration with the City and State of Valencia, Spain, are hosting the second annual Early Bird U19 National Baseball Team event in the 2015 Torneo de Beisbol de Valencia. The tournament, which consists of six nations, started today and will continue until March 1. Juan Garcia Puig, Dodgers international scout and coach of the local baseball team, Valencia Astros, helped coordinate the event with the full support of the Confederation of European Baseball. All parties involved in the event envision that the tournament becoming an annual event that will come to be the official opening of the baseball season in Europe. Spain took home the gold over Germany in the first Torneo de Beisbol de Valencia last year.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!: The Los Angeles Dodgers would like to wish Dodger Stadium organist Nancy Bea Hefley a Happy Birthday. Hefley joined the Dodgers as the organist in 1988 and through the years, she has amassed a repertoire of more than 2,000 songs and she maintains a spreadsheet of every anthem performer she has accompanied at Dodger Stadium.Go here to check out my post featuring a Blue Heaven Nancy Bea Hefley Baseball card set.

SCORPION ALERT: A few days ago, a pair of scorpions were spotted on the White Sox side of camp and today they reached the Dodger side, stinging Public Relations maestro Jon Chapper on his left arm. The scorpion, who had been hiding out in Chapper’s jacket sleeve, survived the altercation and sent Jon scampering to the training room. Luckily, Chap was treated promptly with an ice wrap and is not expected to miss any time.
(A Dodger Fanaticos, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015)

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A Fantasy Baseball Card Set on Nancy Bea Hefley's Birthday


For those Dodger fans that still appreciate a good organ at the ballgame today is quite notable.  It is Nancy Bea Hefley's birthday.  Congrats!

In celebration I made the above fantasy card for her.  I used a photo taken by Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2012 and the 1987 Topps Baseball card design.  And since I was supremely bored at work during my lunch hour this afternoon, I decided to make a Nancy Bea Hefley Baseball card set that includes photos grabbed from her twitter account.  Check out her twitter here.  It includes numerous photographs of her with other celebrities.

Now, all you have to do is print them out, stick them on cardboard and trade them with your friends.







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Vintage Dodger Goodies at Hake's Auction House

Spring wouldn't be the same for this fanatic Dodger collector without a big auction to fawn over.  After all, this time of year isn't just about watching my favorite team get prepared for the hard and long slog of the upcoming season.  It's also time for me to check out my pocketbook in hopes of finding some room to bid on my next vintage acquisition.  Unfortunately, I doubt I'll be making any big buys right away, but I can dream, can't I?

Hake's Americana just opened up their newest auction and it includes several wonderful Dodger collectibles.  Check out some of my favorites below.  BTW, I'll have another post up tomorrow of some vintage Negro League items featuring a couple of notable Dodgers, so stay tuned for that.
(Auction Link)

I absolutely love the above banner.  It touches all the bases.  It evokes Dodger pride with the undeniable desire to beat the living "you know what" out of your opponent.  Although, I do admit that it's a bit harsh. 

The last thing I would ever want to do is hang or poison anybody.  "Sink San Francisco," though?  I'm all up for that.

Hilariously, the banner makes the point of singling out specific teams, but when it comes to the team up north it acknowledges that our hate extends to the entire bay area.  Awesome!
(Auction Link)

The above award featuring an Native American wearing war bonnet w/arms crossed was presented to Jackie Robinson by his post-Dodger employer Chock Full O' Nuts (The South Jersey Division Shareholders) in 1960.
(Auction Link)

These next items are as oddball as you can get.  Above is a convex Brooklyn Dodger name plate for a bicycle.  I am unsure if this was for a bike branded and sold for Dodger fans or an item a fan would add to his/her bike after the fact.  Below is a celluloid flip pin that celebrates the 1942 Dodgers.  It was made by Tip Top Bread - a brand notable for making a scarce Jackie Robinson Baseball card set in 1947, a tough regional card set featuring every MLB team that same year and bread labels that are almost impossible to find.  Both of these items shown here are entirely new to me. 

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Blog Kiosk: 2/24/2015 - Dodger Links - Ethier, Jansen and Twitter Conversaion Worth Checking Out


Spring training is for getting down to the business of preparing for the season, but that doesn't stop the boys from having a bit a fun.  Check out Darwin Barney and Jimmie Rollins, both early arrivals to Camelback Ranch, joking around while taking some grounders.  The photo above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015Go here to check out a bunch of photo's from Jon from yesterday.

Below are some more links to check out:
Yes, it’s disappointing Moncada isn’t going to be a Dodger anytime soon. But, the front office has a plan and is always ahead of the game. It feels the potential to land more players who might not be as good as Moncada (but are still solid prospects) outweighs using the one chance they have to go over their bonus pool.
"I never expect Andre to be a problem," said Mattingly. "He's always professional. Understandably, guys aren't happy when they aren't playing as much as they want. He was a pro about it and wasn't a problem."
"It shocked me because I thought it was a minor thing. So many things are getting into your head, because you really don't know the answers until getting the MRI," Jansen said. "The X-ray scared everybody. But the MRI gave me good news that it wasn't a big thing."

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    * Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *
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